826 National Essentially Odd Design Catalog

826 National Essentially Odd Design Catalog

Susie Nadler
Jul 13, 2009

If you've ever been to visit the pirate supply store down at 826 Valencia, you already know that there are some pretty amazing creative minds on their design team. Somehow the place genuinely feels like a store where a pirate might drop in for some booty before setting off on another round of pillaging. What it actually is, of course, is a fundraising tool for 826, a non-profit writing center offering free services to help kids build their writing skills. Each of the many 826 chapters across the country is fronted by a themed store: a spy supply in Chicago, a superhero emporium in Brooklyn. And 826 has just released a catalog that offers a peek at each of these stores, along with behind-the-scenes info about the product and store design...

Design nerds will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek commentary that accompanies the product listings, such as this little description of a product called "Ah-Ha Agriculture," available at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart: In just twelve easy steps, you can transform a bunch of nomads into a Genuine Agrarian Community. Ah-Ha Agriculture contains soil and seeds inside an attractive growing tin, and so may be subject to seizure at certain inter-temporal custom points.

Of course these products will appeal to kids, but the book itself would also make a great coffee table book, and many of the offerings are fun for the home. A while back, Lily wrote about the gorgeous posters designed in the themes of the various stores... we especially like the time travel posters, with their colorful retro design (second photo above).

You can buy your copy of Essentially Odd: A Catalog of Products Created For and Sold At the 826 National Stores online, or make a trip down to the pirate store at 826 Valencia and pick one up in person. Most of the products listed in the catalog are also available online, from the stores' individual web sites. Proceeds, of course, fund the 826 writing programs, so it's all for a fantastic cause!

(Images: 826 National)

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